A Champagne cocktail for your holiday soiree and spots around Chicago to sip bubbly
Champagne (December 3, 2012)
It’s simple and a great start to any night out from a lively dinner party to a few rounds of libations with great friends.
But this year when seeking out the holiday favorite, why not ask for a twist on the tradition? At Blackbird, head mixologist Lynn House has created The Maiden and the Huntsman. Her rendition of the Champagne cocktail makes a statement by blending a number of bold flavors, then daintily topping them off with bubbly. Here’s the recipe:
2 oz Campo de Encanto Pisco
1/8 oz Pernod Absinthe
1 oz sparkling wine
½ oz lime juice
½ oz simple syrup
1 ½ oz pear/caraway nectar
3 drops Angostura bitters
Combine all ingredients, except sparkling wine, and ice in shaker until well chilled. Add bubbly, stir and strain into a coupe glass.
Blackbird (619 W. Randolph St., 312.715.0708) celebrates its 13th anniversary in December, yet it continues to hold some of the most coveted barstools in town. Reservations are highly recommended whether you want to pop in to try The Maiden and the Huntsman or settle in for a full meal.
Upstairs at Barrelhouse Flat (2624 N. Lincoln Ave., 773.857.0421) feels like a Prohibition-era hang with its reclaimed furniture and antique fixtures. In this setting, you can sip owner/bartender Stephen Cole’s “Jimmy Roosevelt” of cognac, green chartreuse, Angostura bitter-soaked sugar cube and Champagne in a “bubble beer” glass.
Benjamin Schiller, the head bartender at BOKA (1729 N. Halsted St., 312.337.6070), uses Nolet’s gin in his Champagne cocktail because of its wonderful Turkish rose flavor profile. He also pays homage to fabulous shoe designer Christian Louboutin by adding rose water and ruby red grapefruit juice and naming it “12th Arrondissement”—his childhood neighborhood.
A little spice is always nice, and the seasonal sipper at Henri (18 S. Michigan Ave., 312.578.0763) makes a lasting impression with allspice pearls at the bottom of the Champagne flute. Head bartender Clint Rogers makes them in-house from the Caribbean liqueur allspice dram and they’re set off with burlesque bitters infused with Chinese long pepper.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the Champagne cocktail at L2O (2300 N. Lincoln Park West, 773. 868.0002) is as breathtaking as the food coming out of the kitchen. Created by Allison Frey, the house aperitif is built tableside and topped with an edible flower garnish. Its contents are Duval-Leroy NV brut, house-made bitters and a lillet sugar disk that gently fizzles until it dissolves.
Skokie’s smokin’ hot Libertad (7931 Lincoln Ave., 847.674.8100) serves nuevo Latin cuisine and cocktails by top mixologist Adam Seger. For the holiday season, he’s putting a Latin twist to the Yuletide fave by enhancing it with La Pinta pomegranate tequila liqueur and cinnamon bitters.
At Wood (3335 N. Halsted St., 773.935.9663), head bartender Jeffrey Wondrely offers "Madame Colette," which should go over well with the lively and sassy diners. It’s made with Cognac Pierre Ferrand, Nux Alpina walnut liqueur and fresh-squeezed lemon and topped with Vueve Clicquot.